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Born June 28, 1960, in Port Angeles, Washington, John Albert Elway revealed his athletic prowess early in life.

John was such a strong and accurate passer in his Pop Warner league and elementary school days that, when he was ready for high schoo, his father moved the Elway family to the greater Los Angeles area, so John could play in the pass-oriented offense of the Granada Hills High School Highlanders football team. The move paid dividends as John completed 60 percent of his passes for 5,711 yards and 49 touchdowns over his four years of high school.

College or the big leagues?

In 1979, John was the highest recruited prep athlete in the nation. Tall, strong, and mobile when scrambling out of the pocket, college football scouts recognized John as a threat to score, through the air or on the ground, on any given play. He was also a highly touted baseball prospect, and was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals.

Despite the allure of pro baseball, John elected to attend Stanford University, which was known for its high academic standards and its football team's high-octane passing attack. By the time he finished playing quarterback for The Cardinal, John Elway held NCAA Division I career records for passing attempts and completions, and most games with more than 200 yards passing (30). Over four years, he passed for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns, earning All-American honors his senior year, and graduating in 1983 with a degree in economics.

Ironically, John's final college game, against the arch-rival Bears of California, ended with one of the most famous plays in college football history. Following a field goal that put Stanford ahead by one with seconds remaining, Cal returned the ensuing kickoff, making five laterals along the way, for a game-winning touchdown as time expired. The Stanford band, which had already entered the field, bore the brunt of the Cal victory celebration.